“You can’t always get what you want . . .” The Rolling Stones will soon be singing this refrain at venues around world, as they embark on a year-long concert tour in August.
This song, now decades old, addresses a universal truth. Here’s rest of refrain:
You can't always get what you want . . . But if you try sometimes You just might find You get what you need.
What is it that you really wanted and didn’t get? The affections of a person who was with someone else? That dream job? The last cinnamon-raisin bagel snapped up by customer in front of you?
These scenarios range from trivial to potentially life-changing, but they all have one thing in common:
WHEN YOU DON’T GET WHAT YOU WANT, YOU WANT IT EVEN MORE.
Here are three reasons why this is so:
1. Heightened attention: When something is hard to get (or forbidden) you immediately pay more attention to it. Notice that when you are on a restricted diet, you sometimes get too focused on what you “can’t” eat. This heightened attention -- which can escalate into obsession -- makes forbidden food seem very important. Your inner brat takes advantage of this, and tries to convince you that you MUST have that chocolate or pizza.
2. Perceived scarcity: When something is scarce or in short supply, its perceived value increases. You want it more because you think other people also want it. If you’ve ever bid at auctions or on eBay, you know experience of that last-minute excitement as you watch bids spiral upward. The more people who bid, more you’re willing to pay for item. Your inner brat wants it at any price.